Clippers and Lakers stars led the way for the Western Conference last night in Houston, as Chris Paul's 20 points and 15 assists earned him MVP honors, while Kobe Bryant's late-game defense helped secure the West's victory. But with All-Star weekend behind us and the trade deadline looming, there's plenty of off-court intrigue to follow in Los Angeles, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the latest updates on the city's two teams….
- Paul is "planning to re-sign" with the Clippers this summer, according to Wojnarowski.
- The All-Star point guard is also expected to continue to have final say about any move the franchise makes. As one of Wojnarowski's sources puts it: "If Chris wants Vinny [Del Negro], he'll be the coach. If Chris wants [Kevin Garnett], they'll push harder for it."
- Rival teams are still calling the Lakers about Dwight Howard, despite Mitch Kupchak's public and private insistences that D12 won't be moved. When rumors surfaced recently suggesting that the club could be engaged in talks, Kupchak told Howard to pay them no mind.
- One rival GM on the Lakers' stance with Howard: "They're too arrogant to move him now, even if Dwight asked for it. They're the Lakers, and they'll dare you to walk away in July. And if I was them, I would, too."
- Asked about Howard's situation at All-Star weekend, Bryant was fairly indifferent, telling reporters, "I don't know what [the Lakers' front office is] going to do. At this point, it doesn't matter."
- According to Wojnarowski, Howard has come to realize that winning needs to be his top priority in free agency, rather than marketing potential or geography. He'll weigh all his options thoroughly in July.